How some workers – employed by multinational corporations Sodexo, Aramark and Compass – describe a living wage:
"A sustainable income to support my family and cope with the high standard of living within the province." – Nancy
"A living wage to me is where I am able to earn enough to run my household smoothly without having to use my credit options. I do not have to work two jobs to make ends meet, I can afford to send my children to college and have a peace of mind. I do not want to worry about everything each day." – Harkiran
"A living wage would be make enough as to not have to worry about how much is going to be left to live on after paying rent, car insurance, groceries and things like surprise emergencies." – Carson
"It means I don’t have to look for another job, that I can afford to send my kids to extra activities and provide a healthy living for my kids." – Manila
Ariyawathie: the story of a migrant
Check out this short video featuring a Sri Lankan migrant worker named Ariyawathie who was savagely abused while employed as a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia.
Privatization and low wages
Since taking power, the B.C. Liberal government has handed more and more public services – like dietary and cleaning services in hospitals – over to large corporations.
These multinational companies make big profits off of public contracts. And it’s costing B.C. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. At the same time, they do not pay their workers fair, family-supporting wages and benefits.
Living wage campaign success stories
Over 130 U.S. cities and counties have enacted local living wage laws that tie wage and working condition standards to government contracts.
In the U.K., the Greater London Authority introduced a fair employment clause into its contracting procedures in 2002. Several of London’s large financial institutions and hospitals have also implemented fair wage policies or practices covering contract workers in their facilities. And the Summer 2012 Olympics in London will be the first living wage Olympics in history. More than 130,000 employees will earn a living wage during the Summer Games.
In Canada, living wage coalitions are expanding in almost every province. Organizations and individuals across the country are recognizing that living wages are an important anti-poverty tool, essential for healthy families and communities. Hamilton kicked off its living wage campaign in December 2011.
The City of New Westminster became the first in Canada to pass a living wage bylaw in January 2011.
And in April 2012, School District 69 (Parksville/Qualicum) became the first school district to pass a living wage policy to include all staff, contractors and service providers.
Many groups and coalitions have advocated for living wages. Some of them are:
First Call, B.C.'s child and youth advocacy coalition – made up of over 80 provincial organizations and 25 mobilized communities.
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a national, independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice.
Campaign 2000, a non-partisan, Canada-wide network of 120 organizations committed to ending child and family poverty in Canada.
The Community Social Planning Council of Victoria engaged both employers and workers in dialogue to advocate for the advantages of living wages that can support a family.
Vibrant Communities Calgary, an organization that develops and supports creative and innovative poverty reduction strategies in their community, is engaged in a campaign to get the City of Calgary to adopt a living wage policy for all city contracts.
For more information on the Living Wage Campaign, vist A Living Wage for Families website.